Arguments Against Abortion

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

If you keep up with political news, you might be aware of politically-minded people telling pregnant teenagers across the country not to abort their babies, as well as expressing their anger over Obama making it legal. One of the most common reasons they give not to abort a baby is that a pregnancy is more often than not a natural product of sex, both marital and otherwise. Another common reason—and arguably the most popular—is that a fetus is a baby from the moment of conception.

Those two reasons are important to bring up, don’t get me wrong. However, haven’t you noticed that those are the only reasons people bring forward to convince mothers not to have an abortion? Did you know that there are other reasons against abortion that aren’t usually brought to the table?

For one, some mothers don’t even survive the abortion. According to statistics found on www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/, over four hundred women died because of legal abortions from 1973 to 2010. It’s not surprising, considering that it is a medical procedure and not all medical procedures are risk free.

Even if there are no complications with the procedure itself, the mother will still be negatively affected by it. Ann Jones writes an article called “How Abortions Could Harm the Mother” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/231837-how-abortions-could-harm-the-mother/ ) that shows how an abortion can physically and psychologically scar the woman for life. Another risk, which is usually the more common consequence of abortion, is that it can complicate future pregnancies.

Now, these things don’t happen every time a woman has an abortion. They still need to be taken into consideration, but they’re about as common as the risks that come with any medical procedure. Be that as it may, they’re still valid reasons that anti-abortionists can use to argue their cases, so why don’t they?

A few months ago, an anti-abortionist shared a letter on his blog (this letter can be found here: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/dear-woman-whos-getting-an-abortion-tomorrow/ ) written to a woman who had anonymously announced online that she would be having an abortion. In his letter, he commended her for realizing that the child inside her was a human being. He also told her that this would be the baby’s only chance at life, and he/she would never have another one if his/her mother chose to take this chance away. He told her that there are other alternatives to abortion, that there are several couples around the country who would be willing and able to adopt. The letter was truthful on the whole, and touching for the most part.

Granted, this letter was more an appeal to her moral side than an appeal to her selfish side, and these reasons probably wouldn’t have had the same effect. But this isn’t the first time he’s shared his views on abortion. Every time he talks about it, he speaks more on the behalf of the unborn babies than he does for the woman carrying them and the fathers who helped create them. Not once does he mention the risks involved in those procedures, and how the mother could be affected by them. Not once does he say that abortions can and do have a negative impact on future pregnancies, planned and otherwise. Not once does he say that women can and have died as a direct result of abortion.

Okay, let me clarify something before someone accuses me of feeding readers moral poison. I do not think abortion is okay. I don’t. I realize that there are a lot of factors to take in consideration, and the whole what-if-the-mother’s-life-is-at-stake argument is just one of them. Be that as it may, I’m one of those people who believe that a baby is a baby as soon as he’s conceived and he starts growing in the mother’s womb. Causing any harm to a child is not okay, and there are criminals sitting in jail cells who know that. There are other alternatives—in fact, why not adoption? There are plenty of potential mothers and fathers who would love to have a baby, but can’t for one reason or another. And if there are statistics against adoption, there are still plenty of people who’d like to change them for the better.

With all that said, unborn children are not the only people that abortion damages. There are those people who have had a consequence-free abortion and walked away with no regrets. But for every person who walks out of the clinic that way, two others walk out feeling inordinately guilty and hurt. There’s a movement called Silent No More (here’s their website: http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/) dedicated to supporting women who have had an abortion and regretted their decisions. And believe or not, the webpage even shares testimonies from men who, according to the webpage, “regret their lost fatherhood.”

Bottom line: If you are thinking about abortion, you need to know how it’s going to affect you as well as the people around you, especially the father and the child. With any decision that anyone makes, you need to be both selfish and selfless. Think about what’s good for you, but also think about what’s good for the people around you. Just a thought.

Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”

Photo source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9503860/Eating-nuts-in-pregnancy-reduces-chance-of-childhood-allergy.html

Other sources used: http://www.fatherhoodforever.org/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/20/the-abortionists-eye-is-on-us/

http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/about-us/encouragement.aspx

http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/testimonies/

Ten Random Facts: The Muppets

Hello, I’m Mahna Mahna. I Mahna Mahna so that I Mahna Mahna.

Welcome to another installment of Ten Random Facts! In this segment, I select a topic and share ten tidbits of trivia that would be fun to share at dinner parties, or in a casual friendly conversation. This time, I’m sharing ten facts about everyone’s childhood icon, the Muppets. So sit back as I share with you Ten Random Facts about the Muppets and the people working behind the magic.

  1. As everyone knows, the Muppet franchise is notorious for getting celebrities from all over the world involved. Every episode of The Muppets had a special guest star, and all of the Muppet movies have either countless cameos (ex. Steve Martin in the first Muppet movie) or had a celebrity playing a secondary character, (ex. Tina Fey in Muppets Most Wanted).
  2. To date, there are only two Muppet movies that feature only one celebrity apiece, both of which played a major role in the stories. The first was Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as Scrooge, and the second was Muppet Treasure Island with Tim Curry as Long John Silver.
  3. While The Muppet Show is famous for featuring big musical hits such as “Pure Imagination,” “Try to Remember,” and “Razzle Dazzle,” the most famous musical performance from the Muppets to this day is “Rainbow Connection,” written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher. The second most famous original Muppet song is, say it with me now, ‘Mahna Mahna.”
  4. Disney bought the rights to the Muppets around the time they made Muppet Christmas Carol, which—as a result—became the first Muppet movie not to feature any Sesame Street characters.
  5. Although the Muppets made other movies after Muppets in Space, which was released in 1999, it wouldn’t be until 2011 when the Muppets were revived and put back on the big screen.
  6. The very first Kermit puppet ever made currently lives the Smithsonian, complete with the old coat and ping pong balls used to make him.
  7. When a guest star appeared on the Muppet Show, he or she could ask to film a scene with any Muppet of their choice. The two most popular choices were Miss Piggy and Animal.
  8. Believe it or not, Miss Piggy is a published author. She wrote a book called Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life, and it was on the New York Times best-seller list for six months.
  9. In 1979, Frank Oz narrated a tragic life story for Miss Piggy to the New York Times, which included the reasons behind her need to be a debutante. That life story is shared in one of the links below, so I’m not going to repeat it here.
  10. Jim Henson was the creator of the Muppets. His Wikipedia page also recognizes him as an artist, an inventor, and a puppeteer. He directed the first three Muppet movies, provided the voice and movements of Kermit, and even made a cameo in The Great Muppet Caper. After Henson’s unfortunate passing in 1990, the Muppets created a tribute video to him where Fozzie Bear, the Great Gonzo, and the other Muppets learned about his accomplishments, found a collection of fan letters written after Henson’s death, and confirmed that the Muppets would still be in business. Because, as Kermit puts it in the end, “that’s the way the boss would want it.”

Well, that was fun. I hope you enjoyed reading some Muppet trivia, and that you’ll find more to enjoy in the links below. Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”

Photo source: http://www.peabodyawards.com/award-profile/personal-award-jim-henson-and-the-muppets

Sources used:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Henson

http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/25-facts-and-tidbits-about-the-muppets-that-might-blow-your#.ytXZ8Ma67Q

http://news.moviefone.com/2011/09/06/muppets-movies-trivia/

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

Of all the holidays that we observe throughout the year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is perhaps one of the weirdest, for two reasons. First, people pushed hard for it after Dr. King’s assassination, and now that it’s official not everyone in the country recognizes it. Or if they do, they have an odd way of showing it. And second, a lot of people take advantage of this time of year to talk about racial discrimination and the Civil Rights Movement—at one point, some people even called it “Civil Rights Day—and yet it’s called Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and it takes place around the time of Dr. King’s birthday.

Let’s address who celebrates vs. who doesn’t first. Now, this doesn’t mean no one in the US recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day. At my alma mater, the chaplain always observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day by honoring his work in the Civil Rights Movement during morning chapel. This year, Celebration Cinema will give free Selma tickets to any student who wants one (as I write this, it’s still Sunday night before MLKJ Day). Also this year, Huffington Post beat me to the punch by sharing ten random facts about how Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a national holiday (curses…).

But in addition to the batch of people who observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we also have a batch of those who don’t. According to Wikipedia and Huffington Post, Martin Luther King Jr. Day became official in the mid-1980s, and yet it wasn’t recognized by all fifty states in the country until the year 2000—and even then, there were still states that didn’t see it as a paid holiday. If there are companies and schools that give their employees and students the day off on the third Monday of January, they’re few in number. And of those people who treat it like any other day, how many of them (outside of schools) even spare one moment to think about Dr. King and/or the Civil Rights Movement?

And now, let’s address the name of the holiday. Granted, Dr. King is a mammoth of American history, and I am happy to say we’re still talking about him and everything he stood for. But he wasn’t the only big name involved. Rosa Parks is an important name in the Civil Rights Movement. John Perkins is an important name in the Civil Rights Movement. So of all the people who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement, what is it about Dr. King in particular that stands out? Why is he the symbol of this point in history?

That’s a hard question to answer, as there are so many people that deserve to be recognized for their convictions and loyalty to this movement. What I will say is this: Dr. King was the one that everyone looked up to, especially after the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He made the speeches and became the spokesperson for equality. He advocated for peaceful protests, knowing that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). He inspired many, comforted many, and led many to where we stand today as the United States of America.

We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. as a reminder. On this day, we remember what the good people of this country fought for, and how long and hard they worked to get where we are today. On this day, we remember how far we have to go, and what it takes to evolve even more into a united country. But in addition to the movement itself, we remember a man who gave up his life for what he believed in, and given an honor that only two other Christian martyrs in history—St. Valentine and St. Patrick—had been granted. On this day, we remember the dedication of a brave, wise, and persevering man of God who never laid a finger on his persecutors if he could help it. On this day, we remember a man who chose peaceful protests over fighting fire with fire. On this day, we remember a man who dreamed of a place where his children and many others could live lives filled with freedom and dignity, regardless of what they look like. On this day, we remember a man who invited men and women of different backgrounds and beliefs—black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—to stand together. On this day, we remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “Here’s to you, Dr. King.”

Photo source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/ways-honor-martin-luther-king-jr/story?id=18221627

Source(s) used: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-a-tures/10-things-you-probably-di_1_b_6477940.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._Day

Are We Too Dependent on Technology?

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

Two things inspired my looking for an answer to the question I ask in the title. The first happened a while ago when I was browsing through my Facebook feed. I stumbled on a status update of a young relative of mine, claiming that the worst thing to happen would be having no Wi-Fi for a week. My first thought was this:

The second was a commercial where two kids browse through their phones and talk about the perks of having the Amazon Fire Phone. While it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen that commercial pop up on the TV (and thank goodness for that), I still remember one of the kids in the commercial saying “I’ve been on this earth for nine years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.” Which, again, sparked this:

It was quite comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who hated that commercial with a passion. But that does spark the important question that we need to ask: do we depend on technology too much?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no doubt that updating technology has helped us time and time again. Inventors like Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers revolutionized communication and travel, gave us a new way to gather and categorize useful information, and provided a way for writers to exercise their writing abilities via the blog.

But as we’ve created more and more modes of technology, we’ve started using them more and more. I didn’t get my first laptop until I graduated from high school, and now the average preteen has his/her own iPhones to keep him/her entertained. Instead of sending letters, we now use social media to stay in touch with our friends and family. And—as the irritating commercial comprising of two brats showing off their phones to their mothers decided to remind me as I write this—some people fail to see the beauty of the simple things in favor of admiring technology.

This reminds me of the Nostalgia Critic’s review of the Stephen King miniseries Tommyknockers (if you’d like to see that review for yourself, click here. http://blip.tv/nostalgiacritic/nostalgia-critic-the-tommyknockers-5614187 Caution: do not watch if you’re afraid of clowns or psychotic dolls.) In his analysis of the film, the Critic compared the main character’s alcohol addiction to his girlfriend’s reaction to an extra-terrestrial substance. Basically, the substance allowed the girlfriend to invent anything—a typewriter that writes the story while you sleep, for example—as well as read other people’s minds. But in the process, the substance also sucked the life out of her and caused her to deteriorate mentally and physically. And the more she went at it, the more she couldn’t stop. In his final thoughts on the film, the Critic noted how this movie discusses substances that could, as he put it, “increase your productivity while also increasing your dependency.”

And in many regards, that’s how I see us with technology. We’ve grown so used to updating it that we can’t stop. A lot of stories taking place in futuristic worlds show America as either a desolate wasteland or a place where everything runs on electricity. Considering the fact that each year brings updated computers and phones, it seems like we’re so determined to get there at any cost.

So, if we can agree that as a society we are addicted to technology, and if we can agree that this addiction can cause problems, what can we as a society do to fix it? Like I said before, technology has been harmful as well as helpful. It’s helped us learn and grow as well as deteriorate and waste our lives away. With that said, the best solution I can find to this part of the daily life is to find a good balance. Relearn how to appreciate life without technology, but still using it in those parts of life that need it, such as work or—in my case—writing. Instead of a Sunday afternoon watching TV, why not a Sunday afternoon of cross country skiing? Instead of email or social media, why not go back to phone calls or handwritten letters (Hey, handwritten letters may be old-fashioned, but some people still appreciate the effort put into them)? And the list goes on. Whatever we choose to do from this point on, I hope we don’t forget how good it can be to put the laptop away, even for a moment, in favor of appreciating life as much as we appreciate technology.

Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”

Photo sources:

http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/instructionaltechnology

http://threepenniesforourthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/she-needs-to-sort-out-her-priorities/

New Year’s Resolutions

Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.

Well, it’s a new year. Post-Christmas Depression has taken its toll, we’ve looked back fondly on the last year, and the snow is starting to lose its annual novelty. With all this in mind, I have a question or two to ask about that special time of year called New Year’s Eve/Day.

Seriously, what is it with the face of the planet and New Year’s Resolutions?

Every year, people promise to do something different. And every year, it only takes a few days—a week, at most, for some—to break those promises and immediately go back to their old ways. Last year I promised to put the finishing touches on my book and get it ready for publishing, and I didn’t keep that promise for reasons that make me cringe just thinking about them.

Bottom line: it’s impossible to keep a New Year’s resolution. So why make them at all?

My first thought was that, maybe, it’s an excuse to improve a lifestyle, or even the self. It’d be a fair answer, as some people promise to try new things and others promise to be more optimistic or encouraging. But I have two problems with this hypothesis. One, you can’t keep a resolution. No matter how hard we try, we all know that New Years’ Resolutions cannot be met. And if there’s any evidence proving otherwise, it’s mostly likely unheard of, nonexistent, or just plain cheesy. Second, at least ninety percent of these resolutions revolve around living healthier lifestyles, such as working out more or going on a diet for a month. (Follow-up question: why is that a popular New Years’ Resolution? Wouldn’t it be just as beneficial to make a promise that you’ll, say, read a book every week? Or think of five things that make you happy every morning before breakfast? Oh well, that’s not what I’m here to talk about, so let’s move on).

Then I figured that the New Year is a lot like starting over, so it gives us a time to turn over a new leaf. But again, we can’t keep a New Year’s Resolution, so why try at all?

After a while, I thought back on my last New Year’s Resolution, which made me think about the books I wanted to write, which in turn made me reflect on my dream career and how I might achieve it. I thought about how I wanted to work harder on my book, and had gone as far as to buy myself a planner to keep me accountable and stay on task. And all of that gave me another possible reason for New Year’s Resolutions: goals.

Goals keep us moving forward. Being passionate about something—anything at all—lights a fire in our lives that only we could put out. Dreams, whether selfish or selfless, give us something to look forward to, something to work towards. Making a New Year’s Resolution is an excuse to do just that.

But again, we don’t usually meet those goals, especially when it comes to New Year’s. We fail because the excitement starts to wear off, and what we want to do becomes another chore of the daily life. It gets too hard to keep doing, so more often than not we choose to give up before we make any progress. And even if that weren’t the case, when we accomplish what we want to do, what usually happens next? We chase a new dream, a new goal. Very few of us are happy with where we’re currently at in life, and it’s part of human nature to want something more than what we’ve got.

So maybe what causes us to make New Year’s Resolutions over and over again, perhaps, is a foolish hope. Hope that things will be different this time. Hope that our lives will change for the better, if we do this or that. Whatever the case, it’s weird and I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand it. But if there’s something that you really have your heart set on, if there are changes you know you need to make and will do whatever you can to make them happen, then who am I to stand in your way?

Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “Here’s to 2015!”

Photo source: http://hottytoddy.com/2014/12/29/8-luckiest-dishes-to-dine-on-for-a-happy-new-year/